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                                                                             Providers making their points
      Suzanne Weiss
      Senior Vice President,
      Advocacy, AAHSA
                                                                             as Senate dances with reform
                                                                             By John O’Connor                                                                               The bill now makes its way to
      Q: After healthcare reform, what                                       Nonprofit providers cheered                                                                     the Senate floor.
                                                                             when Sen. Olympia Snowe                                                                           The American Association
      should be providers’ big concern?
                                                                             (R-ME) helped Democrats                                                                        of Homes and Services for the
      A: Medicare, which can be harmed or                                    move a major healthcare                                                                        Aging is pushing hard for the
      helped by the reform issue. Medicare                                   reform bill out of the Senate                                                                  preservation of the CLASS Act

                                                                                                                                                  Photo: James M. Berklan
      should stand alone as a payment issue.                                 Finance Committee.                                                                             as the Senate attempts to merge
      The House is using it as a ‘pay for’ issue,                               While the Finance Commit-                                                                   two separate reform bills.
      taking out the market- basket update,                                  tee measure hardly reinvents                                                                      Two other long-term care
      and that’s not a good thing. Our goal is                               long-term care, it contains                                                                    organizations, the American
                                                                             some of the most industry-         AAHSA President Larry Minnix is                             Health Care Association ,and
      to save that market basket, within or                                                                     a CLASS Act promoter.
                                                                             friendly provisions Congress                                                                   the Alliance for Quality Nurs-
      outside of health reform.
                                                                             has seriously considered.          bundling and the creation of                                ing Home Care, were a bit more
                                                                                Most notably, CLASS             a special office to deal with                               circumspect. In a statement,
      Q: Even though Medicare is a sec-                                      Act measures would estab-          people who are eligible for                                 they thanked Snowe for her
      ondary payer of services?                                              lish a disability insurance        both Medicare and Medicaid                                  support. But they also insisted
                                                                             program, which nonprofits          services. Yet another provision                             on better Medicare and Med-
      A: The market basket is the only pre-
                                                                             have strongly backed. Other        would tie the market-basket                                 icaid funding, which still
      dictable vehicle of increasing Medicare
                                                                             components include a pilot         update for nursing homes to                                 accounts for the lion’s share
      payments year to year. [Medicare                                       program to test payment            “productivity adjustments.”                                 of industry revenue. ■
      is] not the biggest fish but it’s a very
      important fish.

      Q: What are your hopes now?                                            Yarwood: Funding challenges a ‘tsunami’
      A: Two things: that the Senate prevails                                By John O’Connor                   of the organization’s annual                                he said to a packed audience
      on the market basket issue and that the                                The leader of the nation’s larg-   conference in Chicago last               
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